Being blue in the face isn’t always a bad thing – especially if you’re a dog from one of the many breeds that boasts a beautiful blue coat!
From Great Danes to poodles, blue coats are quite common among a number of breeds. Additionally, certain rare breeds, such as the Kerry blue terrier and the Blue Lacy, are known for being exclusively blue.
Below, we’ll cover some of the basics of “blue” coats, list some of the most common blue-coated breeds, and share some of our favorite blue-dog names.
By the end, you’ll be all set to adopt your new blue best friend!
What Do We Mean By “Blue” Coat?
When we’re talking about “blue dogs,” we aren’t referring to Blue’s Clues or Huckleberry Hound. “Blue” in reference to a dog’s coat is any variation of a silvery-grey color, often having a distinctly icy sheen.
It’s not really a “blue” tint that’s comparable to navy or sky blue, but it’s most certainly a cooler color that makes this hue stand out from typical gray and black coats.
Typically, the “bluest” part of any blue coated dog is the nose – unlike the coat, the nose may actually have a blue tint to it! Blue coats are sometimes accompanied by beautiful baby blue eyes too. This is especially true of breeds like Australian cattle dogs and collies.
Genetically speaking, the blue is a diluted version of a particular breed’s black coat. It’s a recessive gene that’s passed on from both parents. Both parents don’t need to be blue, but they must both pass on the blue gene to their puppies.
Types of Blue Dog Coats
The term “blue” is a pretty general descriptor encompassing all dog coats with at least some of that beautiful steely-gray coloring.
Breeds like the mastiff tend to come in solid blue varieties, featuring minimal patterning aside from the occasional white marking. Other breeds, like Australian cattle dogs or Great Danes, tend to have unique coat patterns and the splashes of blue are mixed with other colors like brown and black.
Here are some of the common variations of blue-colored pups:
- Blue Tick: A blue tick coat looks a bit like a splatter paint job on a white background. It typically consists of small splashes or speckles of the blue coloring mixed with white, creating and slightly muddled but beautiful pattern.
- Blue Merle: Merle coat patterns are common in Australian shepherds — it’s typically a patchy smattering of gray shades, predominantly featuring blue. It’s often paired with a large amount of white, and maybe even splashes of brown or black.
- Blue Harlequin: Seen commonly in Great Danes, the harlequin coat pattern tends to display a white base with solid splotches of blue. It’s easily confused with merle coats, but harlequins tend to be just two colors or shades, and the large patches of color are a bit more distinct.
- Blue Brindle: Brindle coats come in a variety of colors. The blue variety tends to be a mix of brown or tan with blue being the dominant color. It’s often arranged in almost striped lines, with rough vertical patterning.
11 Blue Dog Breeds
We’ve covered the basics of blue dogs and their unique coat patterns, so now it’s time to share some of our favorite blue-hued hounds!
1. Great Dane
For a sizable dog of a different color, skip Clifford the Big Red Dog and go for a blue-colored Great Dane!
While you’ll find a wide variety of coat patterns and colors in these gentle giants, blue is a fairly common feature across the breed. In fact, solid blue coats are a highly sought after shade for show Danes.
It’s not uncommon to see a blue brindle, harlequin, or merle pattern on a Great Dane. These beautiful blue coats tend to be relatively short, and while they’ll need occasional brushing, they tend to be pretty low maintenance in terms of grooming.
Towering above pretty much every other dog at the dog park, Great Danes are one of the largest breeds in the world. Originating in Germany, their roots are a bit of the mystery, though their original purpose was hunting.
Though they’re members of the working group, today’s Danes tend to be wholly satisfied with just a few short walks each day to keep their high energy levels in check.
2. Italian Greyhound
Though “grey” is in the name, the Italian greyhound could just as easily be called a blue hound – the blue coloring is a common sight amongst these zippy little pups.
Most commonly, Italian greyhounds are colored either solid blue, or a mix of blue and white markings — oftentimes, they’ll have an entirely white neck, chest, and legs, with a blue face and back.
A lighter shade of blue known as blue fawn is a common coat among these speedy hounds. You may also see the occasional blue brindle Italian greyhound, which features a mix of light brown and blue shades.
The sprightly greyhound has a need for speed, and despite their only moderate energy levels, when given the opportunity they can reach speeds of up to 25 miles per hour. Evidence suggests they were present during the height of the Roman Empire, and they’ve been beloved companions to their human counterparts ever since.
Italian Greyhounds are extremely affectionate pooches who love their people, and tend to form strong bonds. They may be a bit needy and stubborn from time to time, but their loving nature makes it worth your while!
3. Australian Cattle Dog/Blue Heeler
The Australian cattle dog is known to some as the blue heeler – for fairly obvious reasons: They tend to nip at the heels of the livestock they’re tasked with herding.
Though not entirely consistent across the breed, this handsome dog from Down Under is known for his signature blue speckles, known as “ticking,” usually on the legs and chest. The deepness of the blue is dependent on the density of these flecks.
Australian Cattle Dogs tend to either be “red heelers” or “blue heelers,” depending on the dominant coloring of the coat.
Blue heelers usually end up with tri-color coats, often including black and light brown hues. Their coats tend to be thicker, complete with an undercoat and a rather bushy tail.
Based on the name, you can probably guess the Australian cattle dog’s geographical origins. With ancestry that includes the wild dingo, Dalmatians, and collies, these pups were bred for loyalty and are one of the top herders out there, even today.
They haven’t forgotten their original shepherding duties, and they tend to be excellent at agility competitions (or herding, if you’re into that). While they can be on the shy side, once you’ve earned the trust of a blue heeler you’ve got a friend for life!
4. American Staffordshire Terrier
The American Staffordshire terrier is a hunk of love in just about any color — including blue!
Staffies come in just about every tone on the color wheel, and you can find one in most any shade or variation of blue. Solid blue is a very common color among these stocky canines, oftentimes including white paws and a white chest and stomach.
Blue brindles are common as well, typically mixing light brown and blue in a ragged, striped pattern. If you’re into lighter shades, you check out the soft blue fawn color that’s common among Staffies.
The American Staffordshire terrier is commonly referred to as a “pit bull,” which is an umbrella term typically used to describe dogs of a similar stocky build. Often subjected to breed-specific legislation, they’re a commonly misunderstood, and a highly underappreciated breed.
In reality, Staffies are not for everyone – they have unique needs for socialization early on in life, and they are physically strong. However, when matched with the right responsible owner, Staffies make wonderful and loving companions!
Wrinkles upon wrinkles of blue cover the handsome shar-pei – if you’re a fan of the color, then you’ll love the legions of blue folds that decorate these doggos!
Shar-peis are most commonly seen in brown or red tones, but the blue shar-pei is no rarity. These handsome pups are usually entirely blue, but the occasional white marking isn’t out of the question.
Additionally, shar-peis might have a blue sable coat, which is a stunning solid-tone mixture of light brown and blue.
Known for their sagging skin, shar-peis tend to weigh around 50 pounds. Serving as a canvas for their beautiful blue tint are the three distinct coat types that shar-peis.
The bear-coat is the longest and softest of the three, ahead of the moderate-length brush-coat. The unusual horse-coat is the shortest, and tends to have a bristly texture.
To match their curly tails and wrinkles, the shar-pei has a personality as idiosyncratic as their exteriors. They’re usually a bit laid-back and shy, and tend to be cautious around new people, dogs or experiences.
While they make the perfect watchdog, they require extensive training and human interaction to develop good social skills early on in life.
6. Irish Wolfhound
With a wolf-like appearance and coloring, the stately Irish wolfhound is a handsome fellow that boasts a sleek shade of blue.
While wolfhounds can come in quite a few colors, it can be difficult to tell the difference between the gray, blue, and silver coat varieties. They look quite similar, but the blue coloring is recognizable by a darker and cooler shade than gray and silver.
Wolfhounds can also have blue fawn coloring, which features a predominately white coat with blue tints on the face and the ears. The signature Wolfhound coat texture is a mix between a longer wiry exterior with a super soft undercoat.
Weighing over 100 pounds and standing over two and a half feet tall, these are some of the biggest dogs in the world.
The breed’s ancient history, though shrouded by legend and uncertainty, dates as far back as Ancient Rome. The Irish wolfhound is closely intertwined with the history of the Emerald Isle, and these pups are a staple in Irish symbolism.
7. Blue Lacy
From the name alone, it’s clear that the Blue Lacy is going to be just that – blue!
Though solid blue or blue and white markings are the most common color variations, you might also see the occasional Lacy in different shades of grays and reds.
More rarely, they can also be tricolor, featuring a most patriotic mix of red, white and blue. Their beautiful blue coats consist of extremely thin hairs, but they’re quite smooth and soft.
The Blue Lacy is the State Dog of Texas – an unsurprising fact, considering the breed’s origins within the Lone Star State. It’s a relatively young breed, dating back to the mid-19th century, when the Lacy family migrated to Texas.
The Blue Lacy was bred to work, a fact he hasn’t forgotten today. They make the perfect dog for the farm or the hunt, as they love to track, herd, and, above all, please their people.
Despite being workaholics, they also make excellent pets – they’re highly intelligent dogs who tend to be a breeze to train.
Intelligence, panache, and class wrapped in a stunning shade of blue – the poodle ticks all the boxes, inside and outside!
Among poodles, solid colors tend to be the most common, blue included. Considering the varying haircuts of poodles, the different colors can be difficult to tell apart.
Black, gray, silver and blue may all appear rather similar as a poodle approaches adulthood.
However, as they mature, blue poodles tend to develop a distinctive brownish glow to them. Once fully grown, a defining feature of blue poodles is their slightly lighter faces, especially when directly compared to their black-furred relatives.
Regardless of the color, beauty comes at a price – poodles require frequent coat maintenance at home and the groomers to keep them looking their best and to avoid matting.
Smartly dressed and smart in the head, poodles make excellent pets and perfect companions for families. Besides a little extra effort to keep their stunning coats looking sharp, they tend to be easy to get along with and care for.
9. Neapolitan Mastiff
The Neapolitan mastiff has a large heart that’s proportionate to their gigantic bodies – and these imposing but loving giants look stunning in blue.
Known for droopy eyes and delightfully sagging jowls, the Neapolitan mastiff boasts an appearance that is, in a word, iconic.
Besides the occasional brindle, mastiffs are usually coated in just one color. Steely blue is a common shade among these gentle giants, as are black and brown.
Despite their short coats, they have unique grooming needs because of their signature facial features. Table manners are not the forte of the Neapolitan mastiff, and after eating they need a little assistance in wiping their mouths. Their precious droopy eyes need regular upkeep to keep them squeaky clean.
It’s easy to be roped in by the big puppy dog eyes on a mastiff, but it’s important to consider the special requirements of people who adopt these pups. They are physically strong, and adults weigh over 100 pounds, so a human with some muscle is a must.
While they’re loving pups and excellent companions, they are also guard dogs at heart. They take their jobs incredibly seriously, and they tend to be wary towards new people and dogs.
Training and positive interactive experiences early on are vital to promoting a mastiff’s good behavior.
10. Australian Shepherd
With sky blue eyes to match a dashing coat, the Australian shepherd looks beautiful in blue and makes a remarkable man’s best friend.
The blue merle pattern is commonly seen among Aussies and Australian shepherd mixes — usually splattered across the face and back, this pattern is often accompanied by light brown coloring, as well as large portions of white on the stomach and legs.
Almost always, blue merle Australian Shepherds have stunning glassy-blue eyes.
Besides blue, other common colors are the equally striking red merle, which follows a similar pattern but with a red-brown shade. Aussies often have long-haired coats, which require regular grooming to keep clean.
Only the latter half of their name is entirely accurate – the Australian shepherd’s bloodlines are influenced very little by The Land Down Under, despite their Australia-themed name with stronger influences from European breeds.
Aussies are, unsurprisingly, excellent shepherds, and were born to herd. They are, by any standard, the most loyal companion you could ask for!
However, as with many working dog breeds, these beautiful boys are very high-energy and require rigorous exercise and stimulation to keep them satisfied.
11. Kerry Blue Terrier
With a name like Kerry blue terrier, you can safely assume the common color among these handsome little hounds — in fact, these compact canines come in several different shades of blue!
Similar in build and size to the Airedale, the Kerry blue terrier can be black, gray, or several different variations of blue.
Traditional blue is a common color, as are slate blue, silver blue, or a mix of blue and gray or black. Slate blue appears even cooler than regular blue, a bit darker but even closer to the blue we know from the color wheel.
The commonly seen silver blue, as the name implies, displays a lighter sheen with the blue tint. These short, dark, and handsome dogs won’t shed, but their thick and curly coats require regular brushing and the occasional trip to the groomer.
With origins deeply rooted in Ireland, the Kerry blue terrier was originally bred for hunting and herding. Specializing in chasing after smaller animals, these dynamic doggos have a high prey drive and have historically excelled at catching rodents or fetching birds.
While they still need an outlet for their energy, they can typically be satisfied with any activity that involves their beloved human owners. Kerry terriers tend to be fiercely loyal to their people, and they simply thrive on human interaction.
Blue Dog Names
Did you pick the perfect blue dog for your household? Great! Now it’s time to pick a name. Check out our list of favorite names for blue dogs:
- Cookie Monster
Did we find your favorite blue dog breed? Any that we missed? Share your favorite blue-coated canine breeds and names in the comments!